Monday, February 28, 2011

When did vacation become mandatory?

As you can tell from the title, it is going to kind of be a rant, although I'd like it be more of a discussion.

So, when did vacation become mandatory for families or people in general?  I ask as a person who hasn't been on a vacation in 6 years.  The question that immediately follows that is why are vacations necessary and to what cost are people actually going on them?

Maybe I'm jealous, well, I know I'm jealous of those who go on a vacation every year.  Those who go to someplace fun, exciting and new.  In our family, a vacation is a big thing.  Not something to be expected year after year.  A vacation is something that we want the kids to be able to remember AND appreciate. 

At the same time, let's face it, vacations aren't cheap.  The require planning, saving and spending.  We went on a small vacation when A was small and it cost more than we anticipated.  I know people will say "yes, but planning can eliminate....".  Yes, that may be true, but with 3 kids, anything can and will happen.  It happens and that's okay. 

The reason I'm on my vacation soapbox is because of something we were invited to recently.  It's a cruise.  It sounds like so much fun and happens right around my birthday next year.  At first, Chuck and I joked with the friend and said it would be nice, but we probably couldn't go.   The next comment was something to the affect of well, you have a whole year to save, so just set some money aside until then or use our tax refund (which isn't a lot) to pay for it.  Wow, that was a big statement to both Chuck and I.  A number of reasons why that isn't possible popped into my head, and since I'm a fan of lists, here they are:

  1. Our budget is so tight it squeaks.

  2. The kids aren't invited but if we were to spend money on a vacation, we would take them too.

  3. We just replaced our furnace AND bought a new to us car.  We need to replenish our savings, not take a vacation.

  4. We pay cash for everything, therefore, putting it on a credit card IS NOT POSSIBLE.

Of course, the simple answer we gave was while it sounded like fun, we were declining. 

To sound completely naive, our kids don't even know what the word vacation means.  Oh, they have an idea, but they don't get the true meaning.  To them, vacation is going to visit Great-Grandma and Great-Pappy in Pittsburgh.  They also think vacation means going to the local lake for a swimming day, hiking at the state park near our house, or a weekend spent at the campground with Meemaw or when Daddy doesn't go to work for a week or so.  Yes, that is what our kids think vacation is.  The little things. 

I guess I could have taken a "if you give the kids a big vacation every single year, how do you continue to top yourself?" post, but I won't.  So, do you think a vacation is a mandatory thing?  If you go on a big vacation each year, do you feel like you need to out-do yourself every year?  Do you worry you/your kids will get bored?  If you don't take a vacation every year, what types of things do you do for fun?  Loads of questions in this post.  Thanks for reading my rant!

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